Reponse to Privacy, Moglen, @ioerror, #rp12

I stumbled across an blog post by Dmytri Kleiner from May of 2012 that has a criticism of a recent speech given by Eben Moglen. You can find the criticism here. For the most part, I agree with the criticism and the conclusion. It’s discouraging and almost ominous.

Practically, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to opt-out without some consequence. It’s also as difficult as Moxie Marlinspike says, “reduce the scope” of your choice to use these platforms.

Western Digital My Passport internals

It was completely my fault, but my portable hard drive developed a click and you can guess what happened next. I thought I’d just replace the drive in the nice compact case. Well, it turns out that it’s not easy. It doesn’t have a standard SATA connector I was expecting to see.

MP James Moore – Puppet of the Media-Entertainment Complex

Last year just before the conservative government was about to introduce the copyright reform bill (C-32), Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore was at a speaking engagement when he referred to opponents of the bill as “radical extremists.” You can find the details here:

After watching the video, I actually wrote a letter politely asking for clarification of his remarks. Perhaps they were taken out of context or there was some nuance I missed. Unfortunately, I no longer have the letter and needless to say I didn’t get clarification. Instead, I got a form letter that simply restates the same talking points.

Here we are a year later and the C-32 that died is now back as C-11 and will likely pass. What I take away from all this is that James Moore isn’t a politician anyone should take seriously. He calls people names and doesn’t actually respond to his critics in any meaningful way.

ASIX AX88772 USB ethernet adapter performance

I’ve always been skeptical of USB ethernet adapters. An old 10Mb adapter I have in my junk box can barely do 1Mb. I have in my hands a D-Link DUB-E100 adapter. It’s supposed to be able to do 100Mb. I was really expecting to expose the sham that is 100Mbit USB Ethernet adapters. Fortunately, I was very wrong and this device works perfectly. There was no appreciable increase in CPU usage in any scenario. Using mpstat, the %irq column essentially stayed at zero for all tests while using the D-Link.

$ lsusb | grep D-Link
Bus 001 Device 016: ID 2001:3c05 D-Link Corp. [hex] DUB-E100 Fast Ethernet [asix]
$ dmesg | grep eth2
[22867.448692] eth2: register 'asix' at usb-0000:00:1d.7-4, ASIX AX88772 USB 2.0 Ethernet

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The funniest antijoke ever

A gorilla walks into a bar and asks the bartender for a drink. The bartender finds this very peculiar and realizes he is dreaming. He then wakes up and tells his wife about the ridiculous dream he just had. His wife just ignores him, he rolls over and starts to sob because he knows his marriage is in shambles.

Intel Atom based motherboards. Why bother?

I recently built a small computer because I wanted to make my own wireless AP and I needed more horsepower than the old WRT54GL could provide. I put together a new system using an Intel D510MO motherboard/cpu combo. Then I started doing the math about what this little system cost me. Here is how it works out.

  • Intel D510MO – $80
  • Minibox M350 – $60
  • Pico PSU – $60
  • 1GB RAM – $30
  • 160GB HD – $60
  • Decent minipci-e wireless card – $40
  • Odds and ends – $20

The total here is about $350. What I ended up with is a cute little underpowered PC that, according to my Kill-A-Watt, draws “only” 19W at idle. Compare this to a Dell Mini 10 which hardware-wise is very similar, but includes a built in UPS (battery), keyboard and monitor for about the same price. I could have saved about $50 if I would have just used a cheap case instead of the minibox/picopsu combo, but then it would have been ugly.

Parasound Zamp v.3

I like small amplifiers. As you can see in the pictures below, I have a few of them. I also have TA2020 board in need of a chassis and a Gainclone waiting to be assembled. Other “hobbies” have these two projects on back bench for now.

For a while I have been using a Topping TP21 (TA2021 based) amplifier to drive my main speakers. Since it’s only about 12-15 wpc RMS into 4 ohms, I find that it doesn’t quite have enough power for when I really need to rock out. Being a fan of Tripath and class D based amplifiers, I set out to find a more powerful one. Unfortunately, the higher power class D units tend to be expensive. I’m not quite sure why that is. Maybe it has something to do with convincing audiophiles that class D is fine for more than just sub amps.

Instead of overpaying for a 50 wpc class D amp, I bought a $300 Parasound Zamp. This thing is tiny and beautiful. I haven’t taken the lid off yet, but it appears to be a standard class AB using bipolar output transistors. I won’t regurgitate the specs and features, you can read all about it on the Parasound web site. For those concerned about the country of origin of their gear, it’s made in Taiwan.

I used my kill-a-watt style power meter and found that the amp measured 8 watts when “off” and 13-14 watts when on and idle. Blame it on the big-ass toroid in there I guess.

MP3 streaming with MPD in Ubuntu 10.04

Nov 13, 2010 update: 0.16 alpha3 build

I have not tested this build! My mpd box is now on 10.10 and I haven’t rebuilt mpd for it yet.

Sept 11, 2010 update: 0.16 alpha2 build

June 13, 2010 update: an updated build mpd_0.15.10+git20100608.53f08a9-0ubuntu1~ripps1~lucid_i386.deb

As of mpd 0.15, there is built in support for http streaming as an output.   Rather than using Icecast, mpd does the streaming itself.    By default 10.04 uses mpd 0.15.4, however I had problems getting the built in http streaming to work.   Also, the build included in the repository does not have lame support so it could not stream mp3, only ogg vorbis or possibly flac which many players don’t support. For example, I’m using a Roku Soundbridge with does not decode ogg.

I figured a recompile was in order. The first thing I did was add the mpd trunk PPA to /etc/apt/sources.list

deb lucid main
deb-src lucid main

After that, I downloaded the source deb and modified debian/rules and changed DEB_CONFIGURE_USER_FLAGS to include –enable-lame-encoder.

DEB_CONFIGURE_USER_FLAGS += $(WITH_TREMOR) --enable-sqlite --enable-un   
--enable-ao --enable-openal --enable-wildmidi --enable-sndfile --enable-pipe-output --enable-lame-encoder

A rebuild required about 800MB of dependencies. The result is the latest version of mpd with built in support for mp3 streaming.

You can grab my .deb here: mpd_0.15.9+git20100520.8945736-0ubuntu1~ripps1~lucid_i386.deb

My mpd.conf has an output section that looks like this:

audio_output {
        type                    "httpd"
        name                  "mpd stream"
        port                    "8080"
        bitrate                 "192"
        format                 "44100:16:1"
        encoder               "lame"

To get your device or player to stream properly, you may have to give it a playlist file. This can be hosted on any web server or can even be a local file.



I’m done giving Apple Inc. money

Despite having owned way too many Apple products, I’ve never considered myself a “Mac user”.   Partly because I use Windows and Linux just as much and also because it’s just an operating system and not a drug, I’ve never put myself in the category.  I may buy another Apple computer at some point in the future, but generally I’m going to try and avoid it.  Even though I’ve never owned an iPhone or an iPod touch and I’ve never even thought about developing applications for them, the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement has certainly made me think twice about even buying another Apple product.

So what now?  Sansa Clip+.   For $49 it’s pretty hard to go wrong.   The nice smooth integration with desktop software isn’t there, but it works pretty well with gpodder.    It’s so tiny and has a beautiful screen.  It is also very popular with the head-fi audio-nut forum guys.